For many people, Windows 10 is an upgrade or is already preinstalled on a new system. But what if you want to perform a clean install of Windows 10? Then of course you need the product code. Here's where to find the Windows 10 product key.
For many people, Windows 10 is an upgrade or comes preinstalled on a new computer. Activation then happens automatically. But what if you want to perform a clean install of Windows 10? Where can you find the product key? Also read: How to keep Windows 10 fresh and clean.
If you want to perform a clean install of Windows, you usually need the product key of the operating system, so that Microsoft can verify that it is a legal version.
However, Windows 10 can be activated without such a code if Microsoft already has a digital signature of your computer. Such a signature is created and saved during the activation of your upgrade. In that case, you can perform a clean install without a product key because Microsoft will recognize your computer.
But if the hardware in your computer has changed, or if you have a completely new PC or laptop, you will still need a product key because the device will not be recognized by Microsoft.
If Windows 10 came with your device, you can find this code on the back or bottom of your PC or laptop. If you purchased Windows 10 as a digital download, you will have received an email from Microsoft containing the product key. If you bought Windows 10 in the store, the product key is on a sticker in the box.
You can also contact Microsoft if your device cannot be activated. The support service can activate the operating system for you after asking a number of security questions if it is clear to them that you really have a legal copy in your possession.
Do not use software that claims to be able to retrieve the product key, because such programs often provide a generic Windows 10 activation code that is of no use to you.